16 June 2013

Abbie vs the Rattlesnake

Abbey was bitten by a rattlesnake around 9:30am on Tuesday. She and Gideon were in the driveway. Elijah was in the yard. Gideon was riding Abbey's trike and saw the snake next to our workshop door. He says that he stopped riding so that she would stop walking backward and yelled to her, "Abbey! There is a snake behind you!" Abbey put her foot back and stepped on it and then it bit her.  

Amazingly, they both remember the events clearly and communicated the same story when we asked them separately. They both mentioned the snake flicked its tongue and neither heard a rattle, Abbey added the important detail that snakes don't have lips and she is 100% certain it was a boy snake.

I was headed outside with them and heard her scream (didn't actually think much of it as there is lots of screaming here). She was running for the door and Elijah and Abbey said that she was bitten by a snake. I scooped her up, she quit crying, and I sat her on the kitchen counter where she finished off a peanut butter covered pancake while I dialed 911. I didn't think it could possibly be a rattlesnake because she was calm and not in much pain. Elijah watched the snake to make sure it didn't away. "Marshall" got there first and then a pile of our other EMT friends. 2 EMT's killed the snake and buried it. We took off in the ambulance for Torrington. Before we hit highway 85 they had the chopper on the way from Cheyenne (Scottsbluff Airlink was out on another call). I was able to choose which hospital we went to and since Matt works in Cheyenne I decided on there.

We stopped in Hawksprings to pick up 2 other EMTs that had advanced life support training. They tried their best to get an IV in but couldn't do it. We got to the hospital and they couldn't get an IV in there either which is why they gave her ketamine to get it in. The AirLife helicopter was there just a few minutes after we arrived. They put her in the chopper and started the crofab, which Torrington had stocked, on the way.

Then Nana, who had met me at the hospital, and I drove back to Lagrange to pick up clothes and update the boys who had been cared for by our pastor's wife and some friends. They were swimmig in her pool when I got there and not sure why I made them get out. ; ) We sat down and I explained what was going on and was frank about how serious Abbey's injury was. We prayed together and then I left them to play in the pool and Nana and I went to the hospital.

Matt sat in the Cheyenne ER waiting for her to arrive. He had been at work in a meeting when he began getting calls from home. I had told Elijah keep calling Dad until he picks up. He ignored the first 4 and then figured something must be up and answered. When it was his turn in the meeting to update the team on what he was working on he said, "I'm almost done with X's computer, my 3 year old got bit by a rattlesnake and I have some stuff to do at DCI. It took people a few seconds to process the middle job. He got the day off.
One of the awesome flight team members. He is the pilot who came back to visit us a few days later.
I don't know what the boxes labelled 33 and 31 do. And where is 32?
One of the ER docs.
Poor Abbie. 
Mommy finally gets there. The blanket is her special blanket that was made by Michelle Laffan. It has all of our names on it.
Dr. Coolidge - 1st year resident. We saw lots of her in the ER and pediatrics.
Daddy asks Abbie if she want's to get a pet snake.
Our ER room and Pastor Tom
A book with Nana. You can see Abbey's swollen face here. When she started to feel better they let us feed her. I kept getting globs of jello in her breathing tube (the elephant trunk looking part). 

Uncle Matt was a welcome surprise. He provided sandwiches and encouragement for the grownups and loves and entertainment for Abbey. Thanks for coming Matt!

In this one you can see the fang marks. They are hard to see, but they are the dots on the bottom of her foot about an inch to the right of the back of her heel. You see more than one drop of blood because the blood drops dried and got sorta crusty. Nobody bothered to wash the wound EVER in the hospital or treat her with any antibiotics, not even neosporin or anything on the bite mark. When I asked about it on the second day, they pretty much said, "we don't even really care about infection at this point. That's way down on our priority list. Plus its not full of dirt." hmm. okay.

We get moved out of the emergency room into pediatrics. They had a fun sign waiting for her.


This is Dr. Ruhullah, a 3rd year resident and the only staff member who had seen a venomous snake bite before. He was our favorite. Abbey gave him a serious stink eye until she got to know him. He lived in India for a few years and while there he said he treated snake bites all the time. He said with every single snake bite the patient swore it was a cobra bite but was almost always a garter snake.

Kelly and Jana drove up to visit also. Nurse Jana fed Abbey her ice cream. It was a good distraction for her.
 Abbey is feeling better.

In the course of 3 days she drank the pediatric wing out of chocolate milk and cranberry juice.

We ended up putting her in a diaper because getting to the toilet with all the IV's was difficult. Also she had a lot of pee. One of the important parts of  venemous snake bite recovery is flushing release proteins out of the kidneys. Too many proteins in the kidneys is hard on them so we flushed the best we could. Even with a diaper on  we had to change her sheets 6 times.

"Princess" Abigail on the sign on the left

First night's sleep.

The helicopter pilots came back the next day to see how Abigail was doing. They gave her a fun helicopter pin.


Here is her team.The woman in the brown and white shirt is her attending doctor, Dr. Brandes, the man in the middle is the pharmacology guy. Dr. Cooledge far left and I don't know who the rest are. They are all happy because Abbey had no complications during the night and was tolerating the antivenom. The pharmacology guy was especially interested in Abbeys response to the medicine. Dr. Brandes said she was the most interesting case in the hospital that day. Everybody (even an LCCC pharmacy student) came to see her and get experience on treating a rattlesnake bite pediatric patient. 

Some of the staff had worked at the hospital 11 years and had never seen a snake bite. So the team of doctors were constantly calling Poison Control to get the latest techniques on how to treat Abbie. 

 
 This is a picture of Daddy and Abbey on the marker board table. She gave Daddy pigtails. She kept asking Daddy to help her "rerase" the picture.

The horse that daddy had for Abigail when she got off the helicopter. She named it Pig.

Good friends the Vintons come to visit. 


Nap time for Abbie. Dad's just helping.


A visit from Uncle Ben.

One of her favorite toys was a blow-up glove that Ben made for her.

The black line on her leg was the mark the doctors used to measure how far up her leg the swelling was going.  The swelling made it a few inches above the black line before it started to recede. The doctors would also measure her swelling  by comparing the diameter of her two legs.




The fangs marks are the two teeny tiny dots about 1mm to the left of that crusted blood on her heel. And the other is about a cm to the left of that one. 

The bruising started almost right away. We were wondering how black the wound would get. It never got much worse than this.


Saying goodbye to the pediatrics wing after the third day.


Here is our cart of stuff being wheeled out to our car. This was home for three days. We spent two nights here. Daddy showered here and went to work from here. 



Here we are at home the first night. We had friends and neighbors over when we got home. Abbey's favorite EMT and our across the street neighbor is Mrs. Marshall. Abbey refers to her as Marshall.

She got lots of presents and hugs. I got hugs too and really needed them. We had a sweet time of prayer with a few friends who lingered afterward. The girl with the flower in her hair below saw a rattlesnake near their garage just a few days before Abbey's incident.






Here is a cake her friend made just for her. She loved it.

Jun11 was the day Abigail got the bite. The 11 on the cake decoration were supposed to be two little baby snakes. :)

We may celebrate every Jun11 as Snake Day. What better reason could we have to celebrate? We are so thankful to have her home.

5 comments:

Megan @ SimplyThrifty said...

Wow. What a story. Abby is such a beautiful little girl. Maybe this is her creative way of making sure Mom and Dad take lots of pictures of her. After all, the first one always gets the most pictures, right?

So thankful she is doing so well! Praising God and rejoicing with you. I think celebrating Snake Day is a great way to remember God's hand moving in your family's lives.

Sarah K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah K said...

I was praying for Abbey when I heard of her troubles via Stephanie H. So glad to see you all home and safe.

Andrea Kelley said...

What great pictures and a great story :-)

Sarah Kuhner said...

I was praying for Abbey and you all so much. You were in my thoughts and prayers constantly. Oh, and everyone in Santa Rosa was talking about your little Abigail. She is so big and so beautiful. Love you all so much.